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Law prohibiting landlords from raising rents came into force

DUBLIN: A law prohibiting landlords from raising rents came into force in Ireland. Rent increases of 4% per year are no longer allowed for landlords. Instead, the government has linked rent increases on properties in Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs) to inflation.

The Residential Tenancy (No. 2) Bill 2021 was introduced by the Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien in Dáil last month. The Bill was passed in both the Dáil and the Seanad last week and signed into law by President Michael D Higgins last Friday. The bill mandates that rent increases now be in line with the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP).

Recently, there were concerns that landlords might impose rent hikes of up to 8% once the temporary ban on evictions and rent freeze enforced at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic expired. But with the implementation of the new bill, this concern seems to have ended. The Residential Tenancies Board confirmed that the new rent increase rules went into effect yesterday.

Under the new law, landlords will not be able to claim rent for more than two months in advance, including from student tenants.

A spokesman for the housing ministry said Section 6 of the bill would have to be left to the Supreme Court for consideration as it created a new offence.

“The Act was enrolled by the Supreme Court and published on the Irish Statute Book on 15 July 2021 and the minister immediately made the necessary commencement order to bring Section 6 of the Act into operation from today – 16 July,” the spokesperson said.

Sinn Fein criticises delay in law

Meanwhile,Sinn Fein’s Eoin Ó Broin alleged that the Housing Minister helped landlords by delaying the implementation of the bill.

Ó Broin said: “It is an absolute disgrace that Minister O’Brien waited a full week before Commencing Section 6 of the Residential Tenancies Act. This means that for a full week after the passing of the legislation landlords were still able to hit tenants with rent reviews of 4%, 8% and in come cases 12%.”

“Because of the minister’s delay in this any notice served before Friday 16 July is entitled to use the old RPZ annual 4% limit. And if the tenants did not receive a rent review in the previous two or three years the limit is 8% and 12%.”

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